What's your weirdest pet trouble

Around the Bachtelberg

BY ERNST OTTO MARTI, AATHAL (ZH)

With 5 pictures (2-6) It is a pointless dispute which summit in the sublime Alpine ring deserves the crown. Should it be the highest, the most difficult, the loveliest? Let us make the decision about it! For years I would have sworn on the St. Anton high above the St. Gallen Rhine Valley. I don't know any foothills of the Alps better than this one, at every hour of the day and time of year, in every weather, in every mental state in which I went to see him. It was often like this: one escaped (why not even oneself?), Looked for silence and solitude and felt happy because alone. Sometimes it was a fraudulent delusion: you returned to the human “sheepfold” as victors and conquerors, superior to the “clan and crowd”. But the lagging nightmares (strange, well into my years, this expression always had something to do with an anxious dream in an alp! ...) corrected all arrogance and cut back their water shoots in a gardener-friendly way: The silent sermon of the mountains did That. But that someone could ever lose his passion for difficult and difficult mountain drives (the first guide ascent of the Saula east wall chimney a few days after the first conquest should be counted?), no, that was not believed at the time when the elderly Mountaineering friend, who had long been carried to the grave, reported with a happy smile how he could now calmly walk the narrow meadow paths, without any challenge or secret temptation, while the young rock climbers conquer towers, cracks and notches on the path. You now walk this quiet meadow path under the absolute low point of the eternal snow line and admit with a mild smile: You age, you do without, you like it or you don't like it, you humble yourself. In the mountains to "fall", in "his beloved mountains ..." as it was often read in the death notices of unfortunate mountaineers, it seemed at that time the fulfillment of a real mountaineering wish. Do you love this secure bourgeois life a little too much, more than the fight for the mountain, this school of hard life, of real experience?

Franz Egger, who has meanwhile risen to the Zurich government council, had promised me when I took up my new position: "You will soon take the Zurich Oberland to your heart!" - In the late autumn of 1947 I stood on the Bachtel for the first time, on a late Sunday evening that gave the heights the last weak sunlight. The Swiss plateau lay lost under a heavy, gray, motionless blanket of fog. A few foothills of the Alps stood out spookily from this terrifying sea. It's easy to imagine: This is how it looked when the mighty glaciers of the Ice Age pushed down from the Alpine ridge far into what is now the Central Plateau. The lonely hunter must have seen it so directly and perhaps felt it too. But over there was also the comfortingly overwhelming counterpart: the powerful image of the Alpine chain, majestically drawn from the Mürtschenstock (where later the dear mountain friend and song singer Ehrismann was to breathe his life out of our Seegräben) to far west, further than the triumvirate of the Bernese Oberland. A solid, secure wall, immovable, massive, deeply calming, yes, almost lovely now in the warm halo of the evening light under the already weaker blue sky on which the first star just began to shine ... We were the last before the one Descent into the foggy country. The quieter and more lonely it got around us, the more this experience touched our hearts. Above us only the silent treetops of the mountain forest, the highest pastures with their faded grass, no more flowers than the gift from that warm summer of 1947. The ground is damp from the early night dew, the air stern and cool. But perhaps that is precisely why the view of the mountains in the south, looking for help and consolation, is always within one's reach. There they continued to bloom; their ice fields and firn slopes seemed small and harmless; for the sunset that seemed to shine out of the rock had the warmth of a living being. Suddenly, however, the light went out and we became aware of the deep twilight around us, and we were terrified. In moments like this one likes to look for a hospitable house, a hut, where one can feel safe. Wasn't it like so often over there once, when the long ascent stretched too much into the falling night. We quickly walked down to the valley. The fog took us in, and now it was, it saved us and made us safe.

This first visit had awakened a love of the Zurich Oberland. Truly no love at first sight; Firstly, because one was now a bit too old for such quick carelessness, and secondly, because the Zurich Oberland does not know how to impress with illustrious names such as the much-acclaimed and early famous Rigi mountains. It has no young landscape face with its brook and ravine ditches deeply grooved into the mountain ridges. It can be called almost elderly and wrinkled, however young these mountains may be. Mostly common Nagelfluhge stone, large and small bumped or hard rocky. They are all deposits from recent geological times. The earth crumb above is seldom profound. Firs, especially the serious red fir, line the slopes and ward off all bad weather. This landscape is only lovely and pleasant in the mountains and at the beginning of summer. Carefree days and nights are sparsely given to her. After the long journey across the Swiss Plateau, the deeper layers of cloud meet here before they reach Säntis-

f * Ì

, v v ,. i w1T1> 1. "

f ,: v

_ ^ HBP

ûp'î1 ,:

mountains and Churfirsten. Fields and mountains mostly remain in the protective valley floors; In the uniquely beautiful Töss Valley, they too are small and need kind care in order to be able to serve people. It is not without good reason that many visitors consider the Oberland, also known as “Chelleland” in the Töss region, as a distinct forest area. It has become more and more of this in the last few decades. With the decline of the house industry, home weaving and the resulting noticeably strong depopulation of the mountain villages - we think above all of the star mountain, which is so close to heaven, that the number of mountain farmers fell. Some farms perished at all, went under and succumbed to the forest. If our country was left to its own devices, it would have to become forest and primeval forest again. But you won't find any overgrown forests in the entire area of ​​the Zurich Oberland. The canton of Zurich, as the largest forest owner, has made a virtue here with wise foresight, and not just out of necessity: It has taken over the orphaned mountain farms and, where there was no longer any possibility of cultivating these remote goods, long stretches that were at most each other barren pastureland, set back in the primeval forest. In doing so, however, he largely averted the previously feared and dangerous floods. Isn't it really huge mountain sticks with extremely steep flanks and falls, over which heavy rainfall so often poured, reason enough to be afraid of the suddenly unleashed water masses in the narrow valleys, which sometimes go far down and up to the confluence of the Thur the Rhine made itself felt with all horror Of course, in the dawn of the industrial age, these water forces were gladly and willingly used; one need not be surprised that in this remote area there are suddenly smaller and larger factories and workshops. Some villages have become real industrial communities in the course of a century, where, according to the face and appearance of these communities, it is possible to live quite well-stocked, when some actually desolate factory houses and small-scale factories are still reminiscent of bad days when it is for the industrial people were no slouch to fight for a better way of life. Today prosperity is flourishing without being bragging.

Today there is the great train of people fleeing the city. It is also noticeable everywhere in the Oberland, even on its most remote heights. The quiet hiker may regret this influx, which on beautiful summer and winter days has already led to a real run on our Oberland mountains. The former Sunday silence would be largely gone today if these large forests did not largely swallow the noise and activity. Because despite the small festivities, which are also celebrated here with great sympathy - haycocks in early summer, Strahleggertag (which one can hardly imagine without Huggenberger, but the former Strahlegger schoolmaster Otto Schaufelberger is already looking to the right!), Bachtelschwinget, Walder “Märt” and others , the lively Oberland Völklein rarely overflowed. On the contrary, they live in quiet, simple villages. They all have their certain seriousness. They remained idiosyncratic and a little unworldly. Didn't the publicly branded Anabaptists seek their last asylum up here? Aren't there numerous small groups and some sects and communities that are completely unknown elsewhere at home? Somehow this hilly, furrowed landscape, which especially in the actual Töss spring area, allows the bare rock to be seen defensively, had to become a refuge for crazy people. The Romans preferred to settle near the Pfäffikersee, which is nicely embedded in its Rieter and moors, near Irgenhausen and Kempten. According to the most recent research by loners and antiquarian societies such as those of Pfäffikon, Wetzikon, Hinwil and Wald, we believe it is entirely possible that this moraine land between Kyburg and Batzberg was inhabited prehistorically, quite apart from the richly documented and scientifically researched settlement of the lakeshore in the pile dwelling period with the highlight of the Robenhausen Rietes, which the later honorary doctor Messikommer brought to light from Seegräben.

The Zurich Oberland, on the other hand, has hardly played a major historical role. It was a popular transit and transit country for armies and long pilgrimages far from Alsace and from southern Germany towards Einsiedeln, home to religious eccentrics and the Order of St. John with the uniquely maintained Johanniterhaus von Bubikon, home of some well-known folk poets and singers, including Jakob Stutz , Nägeli and the wildly brilliant poet Heinrich Leuthold have become known beyond the countryside. Guyer-Zeller, the father of the Rigibahn, to whom a wildly romantic hiking trail has been named in honor, has gone down in traffic history. And today? Couldn't it be prevented that a ski lift was built on the Farner in the Oberholz valley and a second one on the Atzmännig from the Goldinger valley behind, in order to give winter sports, as the saying goes, more impetus in this country too? Man is becoming more and more the mere consumer of all conveniences and activities in order to make up for his inner emptiness without realizing that he must definitely be on the losing side in this haggling for his favor!

Hike into the closed valley of Hintergoldingen The road finally turned into a narrow driveway, still wide enough to let the herds rise to the mountain in May. At the very back, where the Stotzig path began to climb, we parked the wagon on the side of the road with the permission of a friendly farmer and watched the sturdy lumberjacks a little more, who were just carefully lifting a load of long, slender mountain firs that they had had in the fresh ones the day before Bergbach had slipped. In front of the small, clapboard-covered mountain farmhouse, a colorful garden laughed, simple vegetables and healing herbs ripened. The footpath was quickly lost in the etched meadow, then reappeared and finally ended in a coarse stone path bed, which has to become the actual torrent bed with every downpour and especially in spring when the snow melts. A couple of goats clinked at the heap; the boy who shepherd her was the exact image of the young boy who would later become the famous man from the "Tockenburg". We wanted to see the Toggenburg from the height of the Kreuzegg, which is today's hiking destination. Ripe thistles and blackberries beckon. We had enough time to stand still at every bend in the road and look back into the dreamy, almost Sunday solemn Goldinger Valley, to the many courtyards on bright mountain roads that climbed the hills with many bends. Once a holiday home on the narrow Bergaltan, in a few years tanned by the sun; there was a bench not far from it. There we made the first decent stop. Lake Zurich shimmered in the western depths, separated by the narrow lake dam that connected the two unequal headlands of Rapperswil and Hürden like a thin ribbon. The mountains stood in good weather haze; The ice sheet on the Vrenelisgärtli shone faintly. A couple of summer flowers grew on the alp, shining like late lights now that the summer cheers were gone ... Somewhere two happy voices reached our ears. Two women in proper hiking clothes and provided with the right shoes, as one also needs in the foothills of the Alps, walked past us. Short greeting. We went uphill through the forest, rumbling in the luscious afternoon warmth with its strong scent of resin and wood, thorn bush and rotting bark. The forest, which has become sparse, is finally clearing. From the free hilltop above, the view opens up into the wide circle. We surrendered to this picture in silence. We also found out today that bread and fruit taste completely different on it than at the noisy pub table, that such a meal tastes completely different under the sky and in the middle of an unspoilt landscape. We shouldn't sit down at this hospitable table, so that the earth itself can become an incomparable table and the table turns into real table joy. The berry picked from the bush, the herb that blooms in the wilderness, the creature living in the wild, be it a bird, Butterflies, mosquitoes, eagles or gratters tend to make a very different impression on us there than animals tamed by humans and forced to degenerate by them, even if they provide the nourishment we need. Well for us, as long as we are still allowed to look at and admire the wild flowers and the really free animals. The large fox-moth swung peacefully over the alp. Bees, bumblebees, mosquitoes buzzed and sang through the air. We did not see the chamois that actually live up here. The old Nimrod, whom we met after the hunt forced on him because the state had to shoot a few surplus animals, had told us little to praise about these visibly degenerate chamois in the Töss area. At the beginning it may have been a matter of evading scattered animals from higher regions into the foothills of the Alps - one has to ask with all right whether these typical grattiere, which we can only imagine as being in the right place in the actual Alpine region, are here the able to fulfill their assigned biological task. So we were actually happy not to see a "chamois", but we were all the more childishly happy when the fox suddenly appeared and swept from one valley to the other close in front of us.

On a day of the ascent, already warm in summer, before the actual time of the mountain hay had started, I climbed with my pupils from the loud, cheeky city on the elongated lake to the Hörnli. At first the boys walked bravely; but soon I caught up with the head of the train and stayed there from then on, even having to be glad that some stragglers weren't too late. The increasingly steep path led mostly through shady forest. The loud talking and shouting behind me gradually fell silent. Backpacks were changed with the prospect of a swiftly promised compensation, to my slight annoyance; because I believe that every boy's back would have to carry such a properly loaded rucksack for a few hours to find out what it means to carry home what is necessary for life from the valley in such noble areas. A task that is almost an everyday task for the mountain dwellers from an early age, including the children, who often have to travel long hours to school, even in winter, in storms and bitter cold. There are also a couple of remote schoolmaster's offices in this mountainous region; the best known and once feared for some reason are those of the Hörnli and Schnebelhorn. Truly patriarchal conditions prevail here, at least at first glance. But my town boys moaned, grumbled and sighed and tried in every possible way to soften me, to give in, to interrupt the ascent, to sell food and drink. I didn't give in. Except for the horn, the sacks remained unopened and did not lose their weight, with the exception of one, where a bottle broke when it was changed and its sticky contents spilled out. We made a march stop up on the plateau.

The hunger seemed small, the thirst all the greater. Fortunately there was no running well, and, to the chagrin of my group, there was no money to run into the nearby mountain inn and buy one of these fashionable little waters and plunge into the heated stomach. Actually, I fear such mountain hikes with teenagers. We adults believe that such wanderings always bring joy to youth, and we have to come to terms with disappointments. Why? Many young people see every outing as a wanted opportunity to be left out. For the time being, young people don't think much of the beauty of the changing landscapes, of the so often poignant view and distant view. The sense of these experiences must first be awakened. Mass excursions are hardly suitable for this. Yes, I am slowly beginning to understand that eccentric who was unwillingly forced to seek my advice due to a mishap he had encountered on the way, and who then, when his brittle shell popped open, openly admitted to me that he had the People all together, although he himself also lives in the city, nowhere wished to go to Pepperland as much as when the human species appeared before him. «I want to be an islander! He confessed. «The building of hermitages is forbidden today! »I replied. «Are you Catholic? He asked, somewhat embarrassed. «No, but why? "He immediately began to piss off the nearby Fischingen Monastery:" They restored it to be too colorful, too modern for me! »-« I'm not an expert », I had to admit. “But I think it would be a mistake to assume that the restoration was grossly wrong! "He looked inquiringly after my boys:" Yes, and then they put two hundred difficult-to-educate boys and a couple of bad girls in the former convent; you can see in the children how dissatisfied they are and how uncomfortable it must be to watch over it! "I laughed:" No offense - I've been doing this unpleasant business, as you say, for fifteen years! " - He doubted: "You can't tell by looking at that!" - “I don't know if you can tell - but if I have learned one thing, it is this: Every good path is an uncomfortable path, the better, the more strenuous it leads up to a mountain like this one for example. On the way the passer-by may well strike one; but if you overcome it, the joy of the summit is free! “He measured me questioningly. My boys had listened and were silent. Maybe it was the best Sermon on the Mount I can ever give ...

On the descent to Steg in the uppermost Tösstal I had to think of similar incidents. Fortunately, this being moved is not too rare in life, and yet it is rare enough. How moving it was back then at the SAC General Assembly, combined with a central festival, in Pontresina in the Montebello mountains! And what about the drive-up meeting on the battlefield of the Appenzell Stoss? And aren't there innumerable brave men in our SAC who enthusiastically initiate the mountain summer with the ascension meeting? And others who, moved to the core, take part in the inauguration of a new SAC hut? Mostly, however, it is men with experience who have already had a good chunk of life behind them, who have survived the first storms of life unscathed, who knew how to find the right balance in everyday life and in mountaineering, albeit in a roundabout way, and who are now wiser and more serene than the eternally restless and restless have found the meaning of mountaineering in the true inner values.

The first mountains we climbed were tame hills for most of us. Let us not scold the young people who often try to express their vitality a little noisily on mountain peaks that have been consecrated for us! They are spontaneous, healthy expressions of a courage to live, even if it is overflowing every now and then, and cannot be compared with the often simple-minded and disgusting behavior of so-called adults in places that others were allowed to contemplate and contemplate. We heard of mountain meetings that left real alcoholic corpses that would have been best buried in a remote location. On the other hand, we also remember a Whitsun meeting of some ideological community that seemed to have leased the previously quiet Bachtel summit on a glorious early summer's day. They addressed my wife as a "sister", accompanied by the question of whether we were also among the "awakened" ones. Yes, the mountains can become places of the strangest encounters. But I always think that the best thing is when a whole family settles down somewhere on a hill or pre-Alpine summit, interrupting busy hiking hours with a wholesome rest and after a short breather the children take a break in the safe environment without disturbing the peace, that invites you to reflect.

The most beautiful Oberland experience gave me a day of hiking in the middle of the hay harvest down in the flat, undulating Drumlingland. In the "Rosinli", a mountain inn above idyllic Adetswil, which was only operated during the summer, there was nothing more to be found than a dried-up country hunter and a hard piece of bread, of course, a glass of wine with it. I was alone; the elderly landlady took care of the Sunday dishes in the abandoned dining room. I went to the parapet. The red and white flag cloth hung limply on the flagpole. In the warm sunshine, the farmland with the many stately villages interspersed between Rüti and the distant Dübendorf spread out. The small lake levels of the Greifen- and PfäfBkersees stood out from the light and dark meadows and forests, and over a couple of smaller lakes, which one shouldn't name so that they are not also overrun, the light-footed shadows of light clouds of good weather drew while Over the Alpine ridge, which is apparently further away today, the small guardian clouds rounded and quickly, as they had formed, dissolved into nothingness.

Incomparable these summer days on the Zurich Oberland mountains! In the depths, all the details could be made out precisely, the long Flarz houses of small house owners, the stately farms of ancestral people, small and large towns, forests and orchards, wide, dreamy Rieter, individual characteristic groups of trees, the many hills of former ground moraines. As it got even warmer, I withdrew into the cool, shady mountain forest, where neatly armored batons waited on narrow streets to be removed. At my advice, I roamed the vast forests, lost myself completely in unknown areas, until the mountain forest thinned out and offered a view down to the Töss Valley and its eastern mountain range, which came from the Tanzboden and Wolzenalp, a little hesitantly , swings to the northwest, slowly losing height and mountain resemblance, only to ebb away in the area of ​​the Schauenberg, close to the edge of the actual Swiss Plateau, like a last powerful wave of terrain.

How small is our Swiss country when you can see its entire breadth with a single glance! But how great is this small wealth of form and movement that the eye lovingly embraces. We know this blessed land protected by its natural borders, even if they are no longer able to play that strategically important role in the present. But it was precisely this wise modesty, voluntary or imposed, that was able to form the character of this people, hostile to all disorderly claims to strange ways of life and helpless forlornness, which can easily degenerate into untamed insatiability. As we are able to survey the narrow space of our own being, be warned to measure the meaning and content of this property, before perhaps one day we will be absorbed in a large and then hopefully secured organic context on a larger scale, to which we will receive the rich legacy as a morning gift be allowed to bring ...

I got into the proud high growth of strongly smelling mountain forests, found the first strawberries on a small stick, settled down and listened to the small living world. After the long journeys into the realm of eternal snow and the merciless barreness of rock and ice, stopping off on more modest mountain hikes is twice as good. The mostly combative feeling of strength and resistance in rock and stone or in the hostile deserts of glaciers and ice shrubs is softened and soothed. Let us frankly admit: Most of us belong in the community of the common life. That utter forlornness at the incomparable heyday of daring mountain journeys cannot last forever: the high mountains only convey a few bright highlights of the external course of life, which we should remember cheerfully and yet modestly, because every safe homecoming was a sure grace that not when we moved out could be guaranteed.

Those who only know how to handle a wall hook and hammer, pick and rope, will grow with their greatest tools, their hands, misshapen gloves, clumsily to cherish a plant; He is no longer able to see the sky of an open blossom. Don't we know him too, the hardened mountain companion who can no longer see flowers, fish and birds, who can no longer perceive the sweet scent of the flower willow and the summer mountain forest? He is not so rare at all, this person in extremis, intolerant, aggressive, prone to eternal contradiction, shunned early on and feared at the same time, even in his own family, and ultimately unreliable because he is the loyalty in the small things, to which it is known first and always arrives, is no longer able to practice?

On a noisy stormy night between autumn and winter, I climbed the mountain, alone.

Tatters of wild clouds floated in the dull sky. The lights of the human settlements and homesteads were also full of restlessness like the wind that threw its hard blows against me. I was defenselessly at their mercy, someone who wanted his home near, the familiar voices of wife and child. I was late; I didn't like the hour-long walk home. Not that I was afraid; but I felt completely abandoned, like a mountain climber who has to be on the road at a bad hour. In such hours, even the harmless path becomes strange and unfriendly. Every light is greeted like a maritime mark in front of the long-awaited coast. The monotony of the constantly roaring wind was torture.

Wasn't that a bad dog attacking you? Others answered him. A strange voice called. And again the silence between widely spaced groups of houses. Night black the land. Now another whole hour, another half an hour. And then I had reached the last terrace, under which the many lights of the Oberland villages should shine. When I reached the arbor, I recognized the mountain wall to the south, further away than ever on a day before. In a strange light of the pale moon, Glärnisch and Böser Lazy, the two myths, the Wäggitaler Windgallen, Urner- and Unterwaldnerberge, even a few peaks of the Bernese Oberland I thought I could recognize. The sight of this closed mountain range now turned into a deeply impressive picture and call, as I could never have felt it until today. I would have preferred sun and day; because this light seemed cold and shivering. But a mysterious spell drew my eyes. If the sun stopped coming ... if this faint light stayed forever, the sky was finally completely covered, an eternal winter would fall from the heights, an ice age would begin again ... just senseless thinking?

Epilogue At the turn of the century there was a certain circle of people who wrote who tried to establish a kind of pagan mountain philosophy. At that time, superlatives were the order of the day, intoxicating descriptions of the mountains, a kind of pathetic Art Nouveau, which then two world wars and the decline of people miserably broke up. We are only reluctantly able to read those dithyrambic outbursts. We have become more humble and more critical. Too much water has flowed from our heavenly mountains into the murky depths for it to pass us by without a trace: Today we reckon with real realities and pay attention to the conditions imposed on us. But that shouldn't be the last either! People are looking for a location in the totally changed world! He will save his humanity so that he will not become a soulless machine, a mere busy mechanism, a robot of naked enjoyment and the deathly condemned victim of automation! We keep climbing to the mountains! We do not believe in the downfall of true man. We don't believe in it, because we mountaineers have all definitely once stood on a mountain that has become a sacred place for us. Our mountain trips are, if they are not just supposed to leave behind cold arrogance and emptiness and tiredness, the hour and opportunity for impressive sermons. It is not for nothing that we profess the Sermon on the Mount, not for nothing do we expect a powerful, masculine word of contemplation and reflection at every mountain celebration. Where else would we be able to recognize the greatness and limitless omnipotence of our Creator than at the natural peaks of his work! In my mountain guide novel "Der Bergführer Jöri Madji", which has long been out of print, I forebodingly called the mountains the thoughts of God. To recognize God's thought and fingerprint in all formations, that remains our task; The tame alpine upland, wherever it is, becomes a parable of those eternally active forces, whose author we gladly call God, and then the Franciscan idea of ​​the brotherhood of all visible creatures may impress us completely as the most beautiful gift that love gives us able to give to the mountains and all their formations and creatures!

Before I want to be humble with the evening shadows, I want to turn over light mats from the Bergaltane's pastures to the mountain again, happy to let myself in with him and reach for the familiar stone with climbing hands!

To see once more in the great peace of a midday partying how the waters go mountain divorced to the same sea, joyfully feel the shine of heaven and be the brother of happiness, longing quietly lead to clarity and free me from the low.

I also descend for the last time into the depths, where the old people, smiling in the evening rays, prepare themselves for the long journey: those who have stood happily on the peaks bears the eternal reflection, Charon may land on the bank, be of good cheer, God is catching up with you!